As we continue talking about what the "tension of truth" is, there's a lot of tension in the words of Jesus. And as we get into Matthew Chapter 12, here's what you are going to discover, it may be one of the hardest things that Jesus has to say to us. What I really think Jesus is asking us is...
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There is something about the identity of knowing you are a child of God that will give you more confidence than your resources and position ever will! Jesus didn't only have identity, He had purpose! There was a reason why He was here! There was a reason why He walked planet earth. In...
What are some of the qualities of individuals that you believe hold power? We're all born with a certain level of resources, we're all born with certain capabilities that we have control over. Then for the rest of our lives, in order to gain power, we try to gain more and more resources!...
When Jesus walks into your life, your life is going to get totally and radically flipped upside down. If you haven't had the experience yet of Jesus showing up and having your life completely and totally flipped upside down, then you might want to ask yourself the question "Do I really know...
I don't know if some of you know, but we've got a pretty serious and solid purpose here at The Church at Severn Run! It is to reach as many people as possible, by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son, in the power of the Spirit! We've heard our pastor say it...
Those of us who follow Jesus do good because we want the attention to be given to our Heavenly Father; not to us! Matthew 6:1-4 says “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.So when...
As we continue talking about what the "tension of truth" is, there's a lot of tension in the words of Jesus. And as we get into Matthew Chapter 12, here's what you are going to discover, it may be one of the hardest things that Jesus has to say to us. What I really think Jesus is asking us is, "Are you willing to stand behind your words?"
Our words say a whole lot about us and this is what Jesus is bringing into play as He approaches this particular teaching in Matthew 12:33. I'm going to warn you that this is going to get rough because quite frankly Jesus is the one who makes this incredibly hard to deal with! Beginning in verse 33, Jesus says this, "A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad." Jesus makes this pretty simple didn't He? A good tree equals good fruit. Then listen to what He said, "You brood of snakes!" Does that sound like Jesus? Have you heard Jesus talk like that a whole lot? We like to think that Jesus is neat and kind, but sometimes He just fires away!
You see, He recognized the crowd that He was speaking to. He recognized who He was speaking to were the religious and even political leaders of that day, and these guys named the Pharisees and Sadducees, (sorry ladies you weren't allowed to be involved) these "guys" who made all of the rules and had all the power, many of them had memorized the Torah before they were even in middle school! They knew every story in scripture, they knew what it all had to offer and Jesus looks at them and He says, "You brood of snakes!"
As soon as Jesus says this, He levels probably what was the greatest insult that could have possibly been leveled at these guys! Because as soon as He said "You brood of snakes," what would have went through their mind was the first story that we discover in scripture! Right after creation takes place, who is it that shows up in the garden to deceive Adam and Eve? A snake - and the snake talks and uses the first words of deception in which the snake says, "If you will just eat of this tree, then you will be like God." (Genesis 3:4)
The first lie that we are able to see in the Bible came through a snake! Jesus looks at these guys and He says "You're not just a snake you're a brood of snakes causing deception in the world!" (Paraphrased) These people who were supposed to be bringing truth and love were bringing deception. Then in Matthew 12:34-37 Jesus says, "How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
I mean Jesus is not letting anybody off the hook is He? He's saying for every good, bad and for every idle word that you speak, someday you're going to have to stand there and it will all completely be exposed!
Here's what I'll just say to you folks, we say a lot on this thing called social media nowadays don't we? Everything that you say and everything that you write, lives forever! It was true before the internet and it's now truer than ever before because our words absolutely say something about who we are and we will give an account on Judgement Day for every idle word that we speak! For everything that we posted on social media, so if you can't say it in here (in the Worship Center) you shouldn't say it out there!
For what we said to our children and what we said to our coworkers, for what we said to our spouses and what we said to those that we like and those we don't like. The words that you say right now, they reflect your fate; showing the truth about what is in your heart! They are showing whether you are a Christ follower or not. You may claim to be, but if the stuff that comes out of your mouth is poison to your family, your friends and those around you, then it's reflecting where your heart really is!
Your words are like holding up a mirror to your life, showing everybody who you really are! Either you will be justified by them, Jesus said, or you will be condemned!
But I want to tell you there is hope, we can change our words. We don't have to live a life that is poisoning others by what comes out of our mouths. One of the first things that we need to understand is that "Good words don't come naturally."
What are some words that you have to teach your children? Please...Thank you...I'm sorry...Excuse me. What you do know if you have children is that good words don't come naturally. You have to teach them good words, they don't come naturally do they? What He actually tells us is that good words come from a treasury in verse 36 "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart."
Every word that you've spoken to your spouse, every word that you've ever spoken to your child, to an employee, to a friend, whoever it may be, every word that you have ever spoken has been added to somebody's treasury. And every word that you have spoken to yourself when you wake up in the morning is added to yours! If you wake up not believing what God believes about you, and you begin to believe the things that you believe about you, when you speak those things into your life, you are adding to a treasury. But it may not be silver or gold that you're adding - you may be adding a brood of snakes!
Every word - does that not make you consider who you are and what is coming out of your mouth? When you are speaking words to your spouse in front of your kids, you are speaking words into their treasury! Think about everything you've ever said in every conversation you've had, just in the last week alone. A lot of things get said and expressed and the question becomes, are you willing to stand behind your words? -Pastor John B. Smith
In fact, Matthew 12:21 tells us what that reason was: "Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world."
Isn't that amazing? He had identity and He had purpose and I can tell you that if you're a child of God, God has put a passion in your heart, He's given you something to do - you have a purpose! -Pastor John B. Smith
What are some of the qualities of individuals that you believe hold power?
We're all born with a certain level of resources, we're all born with certain capabilities that we have control over. Then for the rest of our lives, in order to gain power, we try to gain more and more resources! In fact, history is ripe with examples of this, is it not?
If you think about most wars that have been fought, most wars from a historical perspective in some way shape or form, have been fought over resources. Whether it's water, diamonds, land, gold, it doesn't matter what it is, often times, most wars are fought over resources, because if we want to "gain power," and let's face it, we're human beings, then we've got to acquire more and more resources.
In fact, I think of one of the worst examples in American history is slavery. Slavery was about resources wasn't it? It was about control and it was about the worst form of resources: it was about the control of other human beings actually becoming individuals property. The worst part is that we have more people that are in slavery today than have ever been in slavery before in all of world history because we as human beings think that we can own each other!
The government is always about resources isn't it? Communism was about resources, it's about gathering all of the resources for the people. Imperialism is about gaining all of the resources for the crown. Capitalism is about raising all of the resources and then letting each person own their own resources and then he who gets the most resources wins! No matter how you cut it, the human experience and the first part of the equation of power is about resources.
We always want to get more, we always want to gain more! Our lives are also ripe with examples of that too aren't they? In this thing called life, we're all on this quest to gain more and more resources: the car that we drive, the clothes that we wear, the neighborhoods we live in, they are all about status symbols. Look at me, I've acquired the right type of resources to be able to have the right type of power! We will always find a way to gain power with our resources. We will always find a way to say we're better than you because of what we have.
Once you gather enough resources, you then need to add to that "position." Once you have the resources + the position, then you have this thing called power.
From a young age we have the desire to achieve the next step of power don't we? Then in all of this trying to constantly get to the next step of power, we look back and we say "Oh look, life is gone, now what?" Life has passed you by because there are no more positions to get to. And as a result of always wanting the next position, we come to miss out because positions to hold run out don't they?
This equation of power: Resources + Position = Human Power
This is what we constantly watch everyone try to achieve around us. The problem with gaining power this way is that resources always run out. Resources are unsustainable because we always need more. Resources leak out of our bucket of life. And the problem with gaining power via position, is that every position is temporary.
The problem with human power is that it runs out, and ladies and gentlemen can I just tell you this is why I Iove the life of Jesus! That's why being on the road with Jesus matters so much because as we've walked through the book of Matthew this year, what we've been able to see is that Jesus' life is about what "real power" is supposed to be!
Jesus' life is the ultimate example, in fact, as we've journeyed through Matthew together, we've seen him heal the blind, cure the lame, walk on water. We've seen Him do lots and lots of amazing things, but these are not the things He does that make Him powerful at all -and Jesus understands that.
Matthew 12:15 says, "But Jesus knew what they were planning, so he left that area and many followed Him and He healed all the sick that was among them but he warned them not to reveal who He was." Does that sound like anyone you know running for office right now? It doesn't matter the party and it doesn't matter the person, achieving human power is all about "Look at me!"
If anyone had the right to stand up and say He was incredible, it certainly was Jesus Christ! This humbleness of spirit in Jesus, fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 42:1 concerning Him, "Look at my servant who I have chosen." God is speaking of Jesus in this way. "He is my beloved who pleases me, I will put my spirit upon Him and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed, or put out the flickering candle, He will cause justice to be victorious and His name will be the hope of all the world."
After everything you've seen Jesus do, think about this deeply - this is Jesus power!
When you think about Jesus power, what are the words that come to your mind after reading these passages? Would you believe there is a formula for Jesus power? It starts with "Identity" and it looks a whole lot different than the formula for human power!
Human power is Resources + Position. But the formula for Jesus Power starts with "Identity." Jesus starts with the fact that He is the son of God and once you are a child of God, you don't need any resources do you? Every person was created in the image of God but just because that is the case, that does not mean you are the child of God! The first level in the equation of Jesus power is identity! When we have identity as a child of God, we don't need any more resources do we? He's the creator of everything!
There is something about the identity of knowing you are a child of God that will give you more confidence than your resources and position ever will! Jesus didn't only have identity, He had purpose! There was a reason why He was here! There was a reason why He walked planet earth, in fact it tells us what that reason was "I will put my spirit on Him and He will proclaim justice to the nations and His name will be the hope of all the world." (Isaiah 42:1)
He had identity and He had purpose and I can tell you that if you're a child of God, God has put a passion in your heart, He's given you something to do - you have a purpose! -Pastor John B. Smith
When Jesus walks into your life, your life is going to get totally and radically flipped upside down. If you haven't had the experience yet of Jesus showing up and having your life completely and totally flipped upside down, then you might want to ask yourself the question "Do I really know Jesus?"
If you haven't been radically transformed in a way where you understand that what He is trying to do is make you different, then maybe there is not a real relationship with Jesus!
Because that's just what Jesus does when He shows up - Jesus changes everything!
If you've experienced change after following Jesus, there is a good chance that you're following Him. If your life is no different after following Jesus, then there is a good chance you are not really following Him!
Jesus changes everything, and can I just tell you what 'Jesus change' takes? Jesus change takes courage! Change takes walking into situations you don't want to be in, change causes you to have to be different than you are today! Welcome to Jesus change. He's gonna take you to some scary places and He's gonna ask you to do some scary things! If change is going to take place in your life, it's gonna take some courage!
Jesus change takes courage; Jesus change means that you're gonna have to give up everything if you want to know Him! There is nothing in your life that is off limits for Jesus to touch and do something with!
When Jesus change comes, it will alienate you from some people, it will take some people away from you quite frankly that you may love. If you're dating someone and they don't love Jesus the most and you're trying to love Jesus the most and you're trying to convince them over and over to love Jesus. By the way, you can't convince them to love Jesus, only the Spirit can do that. In fact, often times you will just enable them to keep from loving Jesus!
So, can I just go ahead and tell you that unhealthy + unhealthy does not equal healthy. Unhealthy + healthy does not equal healthy. Only healthy + healthy coming together will be healthy! When it's all said and done, Jesus is going to alienate you from some people when He changes your life.
Here's the deal folks, what are we gonna do with Jesus? Maybe it's a real life change, deciding to accept Him into your heart and start a real relationship with Him? Maybe you've been a follower for a while but you've just got some things that need to change. It could be in your finances, it could be something in your family or in your relationships or your job?
There are a lot of times I don't like what Jesus says to me, but when you're confronted with the real Jesus, you have to either say "Yes, Jesus, change whatever it is you want to change about me" or you have to look at Him and say "go away." There is no in-between! Jesus change takes courage! -Pastor John B. Smith
I don't know if some of you know, but we've got a pretty serious and solid purpose here at The Church at Severn Run! It is to reach as many people as possible, by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son, in the power of the Spirit! We've heard our pastor say it over and over again, and when I read our mission statement, I got news for you, it looks a whole lot like that group back in Acts chapter 4 doesn't it?
It says this in Acts 4:32, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."
There was no relational poverty. There were no lonely people that were involved in this particular group. They were all united in heart and mind and they felt that what they owned, was not their own!
So they shared everything that they had and folks, this was not some political thing, or some government saying 'we are going to take everything that you've got and redistribute it equally among everybody else,' that's not what was happening. These people were 'crazy'--they were literally giving up everything that they had and then redistributing it so that nobody else had need inside of their community - oh my goodness!
One of the most remarkable statements of this chapter is in Acts 4:34, "There were no needy people among them." None! This does not mean that they were all driving around in Mercedes Benz. It means that there were no needs, nobody went without a meal in their community. Nobody was trying to figure out how to make sure the electric got paid in their community--their needs were being met! This was an entire community of 5,000 worshiping together and none of them had a need! That's called crazy-town!
They realized that God had not put them on the planet to acquire 'more stuff' or to build more wealth, they knew that life was about relationship with God and that it was about relationship with others; nothing more, nothing less! The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of Jesus and God's great blessing was upon them all.
They recognized that what Jesus had really been there to do was to change the hearts and minds of every single man, woman, boy and girl. And here's what they did, they got on the road with Jesus, because Jesus' passion was that every man, woman, boy and girl from the time that He was crucified and left planet earth, would never again experience loneliness and the destructive element that this world has to offer!
These were not people that went into a classroom to try and learn as much as they possibly could. These were people that from day one, got out on the road, they followed after Jesus, they ran into as many unbelievers as they possibly could and they met their needs and they shared the Jesus story!
We can finish what they started, don't you believe that church? They are no different than you and I, they were united in heart and mind and they had a solid purpose - like our own! -Pastor John B. Smith